Quality Assurance and Enhancement

The Quality and Academic Service (QAS) provides a focus within the University for the development and implementation of academic quality assurance and enhancement activity, with a specific remit to oversee all provision detailed in the Quality Manual and the Partnerships Manual.

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The Regulations and Codes of Practice for Postgraduate Research Degrees can be found at Resources | University of South Wales.

Degree Outcomes Statement

In response to the Statement of Intent produced by the UK Standing Committee for Quality Assessment the University has analysed our data on the proportions of degree classifications we award. The outcome can be found in our Degree Outcomes Statement that was approved by the University’s Board of Governors in June 2022.

The Quality Manual outlines the policies and procedures concerned with the management of taught courses leading to awards made by the University of South Wales (USW). It applies equally to the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama (RWCMD) and covers all provision carrying USW credit at level 3 and above in the Credit and Qualifications Framework for Wales (CQFW). 

The Partnerships Manual sets out the definitions, processes and policies for the operation of the University’s provision with others. It covers all arrangements where the University works in partnership with other organisations to design and/or deliver courses and/or to award qualifications. It should be read in conjunction with the Quality Manual which sets out the University’s overarching approach to its quality framework.

The Apprenticeship Partnership Manual sets out the definition, processes and policies for the operation of the University’s1 provision with others with relation to apprenticeship arrangements. It should be read in conjunction with the Quality Manual which sets out the University’s overarching approach to its quality framework. Where applicable, contextualised guidance documents are provided within this manual.

The University has collaborative arrangements with partner organisations both within the UK and overseas. Responsibility for academic standards and quality assurance remain with the University. Many of the standard quality processes (for example: continuous monitoring; course approval and review and the use of External Examiners) outlined in the Quality Manual apply equally to collaborative provision.

Procedures for Placements and Work-based Learning

  1. Regulations for Taught Courses

Exceptional Regulations

In accordance with the University’s Regulations for Taught Courses, the Exceptional Arrangement Regulations (Section 7) were invoked on 15th May 2023. These were updated and signed off by Academic Board in April 2023. This is to enable Assessment Boards to determine module outcomes, progression decisions and awards, wherever possible, taking into account all available information.

For USW students who have commenced their studies since September 2013.  Links to previous versions of the Regulations for Taught Courses can be found here Student Regulations

The University is responsible for the standard of awards made in its name and for ensuring that the courses are set at the right standard from the outset. The purpose of the course approval process is to ensure that the proposed course offers a coherent course structure which is appropriate to the name of the course, the level of the course within the national qualifications framework and the subject to be validated, including any relevant QAA subject benchmarks. It also ensures that the requirements for students to achieve the learning outcomes are clear, that there are appropriate learning and teaching methods and that the assessment is designed to test the learning outcomes. These procedures have been written for all those involved in the development of new taught courses.


Members of staff should visit the relevant Faculty Quality Assurance and Enhancement SharePoint sites for forms and guidance on processes including initial course proposal, validation and revalidation, modifications and closures.

Faculty Quality Assurance and Enhancement SharePoint sites can be found in the following links:

Faculty of Business and Creative Industries

Faculty of Computing, Engineering and Science

Faculty of Life Sciences and Education

The University of South Wales is committed to providing high quality, comprehensive and accessible education for its students via a range of courses.

The University operates a two tier assessment system with a Course External Examiner whose responsibilities will span their professional subject knowledge and their expertise as an academic in the operation of courses. The two tiers are subject assessment boards which consider module performance and award and progression assessment boards which consider the overall performance of the student.  Additional information regarding your role, payments, reports can be found on the External Examiner site.

The University defines a partnership as any arrangement in which the University makes an award or gives credit towards an award on the basis of education provided by, with or at another organisation in the UK or overseas.

Additional information regarding our collaborative partners, Link Officers or Recognised Teacher Status can be found on the Partnerships site.

Quality Enhancement Review 2022

Quality Enhancement Review is the method by which Welsh higher education providers are reviewed as part of the Quality Assessment Framework for Wales.

Its purpose is to demonstrate that educational provision at Welsh universities is of appropriate academic standard and quality against a set of baseline regulatory requirements. The process followed for the review was amended.

In July 2022 the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) completed our latest Quality Enhancement Review, and the outcome is now available. The University of South Wales has been awarded the QAA Quality Mark for meeting or exceeding UK expectations for quality and standards in its QAA review. 

The review team confirmed that the University meets the requirements of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) Part 1 for internal quality assurance, and the relevant baseline regulatory requirements of the Quality Assessment Framework for Wales.

The review team did not make any recommendations to indicate that there are issues which the University needs to address.

They identified several commendations

  • The clear focus on strategic aims across the University, developed and implemented in partnership with students, that creates a cohesive approach to the enhancement of learning, teaching, and assessment.
  • The University's considered, well informed and effectively communicated response to the pandemic, which has enabled the University to reduce the impact on students and staff and to provide a positive foundation for active learning.
  • The University's extensive engagement with external guidance, expertise and networks which has positively informed their management of academic standards and enhancement of the student experience.
  • The comprehensive availability and use of data that is embedded in quality processes, and which enables timely and informed decisions that enhance the student experience.
  • The well-managed partnerships with the five Strategic Alliance further education colleges which meet the needs of local students and regional employers.

The QER identified one affirmation

  • The steps being taken to ensure that external examiner reports clearly distinguish between the University's on-campus provision and that delivered at each partner college.

Quality Enhancement Review Action Plan

The action plan has been developed jointly between the University and the Students’ Union. The development of an action plan following the review visit is a requirement of the QER process.

The implementation of the action plan will be monitored by the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC).

QER Action Plan (English)

QER Action Plan (Welsh)

USW Pathway College Limited – Educational Oversight – Exceptional Arrangements Review 2022

The USW Pathway College is a limited company established through a Joint Venture between the University of South Wales (the University) and QA Higher Education (QAHE). The College was established in April 2021 for the purposes of providing a fully embedded on-campus delivery of pathway programmes to students, supported by online and blended learning in accordance with UKVI requirements for an embedded pathway college.

New joint ventures are required to undergo the Educational Oversight-Exceptional Arrangements method conducted by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). The successful review took place in October 2022. The main purpose of the review was to:

  • make judgements about the provider's management of its responsibilities for academic standards, as set out in its contractual arrangements with its academic partner
  • make judgements on the provider's management and enhancement of the quality of learning opportunities
  • report on any features of good practice
  • make recommendations for action.

The method includes submission of documentary evidence and a face to face visit with key staff and students.

The QAA panel considered evidence relating to the educational provision at USW Pathway College Limited (the College), both information supplied in advance and evidence gathered during the review visit. The successful outcome is now available.

Key findings

Judgements

The QAA panel formed the following judgement about USW Pathway College Limited.

  • Confidence can be placed in USW Pathway College Limited's management of its responsibilities for academic standards, as set out in its contractual arrangements with its academic partner.
  • Confidence can be placed in USW Pathway College Limited's management and enhancement of the quality of learning opportunities.

Good practice

The QAA panel identified the following features of good practice at USW Pathway College Limited

  • The effective use of peer observation of teaching as an opportunity for sharing good practice between English for academic purposes tutors and subject-specialist staff.
  • The extensive integration of pathway college students within the wider university environment

Recommendations

The QAA panel makes the following recommendations to USW Pathway College Limited. It is desirable for the provider to:

  • introduce a programme of e-safety training for students as part of the induction process
  • raise student awareness of the existing policies on complaints, appeals and sickness absence
  • provide a programme of training for student representatives
  • introduce a systematic on-entry survey of the student experience of recruitment, admission and induction to provide timely data to inform the continuous monitoring process
  • improve the quality and content of the welcome information pack, including details of the student meet and greet scheme
  • put in place mechanisms to evaluate the effectiveness of the initiatives in place to improve student retention

Following the successful review an action plan has been developed by the University and Students’ Union, which is a requirement of the process. Implementation of the action plan will be monitored by the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC).

USW Pathway College Action Plan (English)